As Summer begins, families in SaddleBrooke are planning to get together for Independence Day and other indoor and outdoor celebrations. One unwelcome visitor no matter the month is the dreaded cockroach.

Cockroaches typically have six spiny legs and two long antennae. American cockroaches, which like hot, humid conditions and have fully developed wings, and German cockroaches, implicated in outbreaks of illness and allergic reactions in many people, are the two most common species that are found in the southwestern United States.

A very common pest, cockroaches are nocturnal and remain in the dark whenever possible, only emerging to search for water and food. Large infestations should be suspected when cockroaches are seen in the open or in the light during the day. Cockroaches have lived off the bare essentials with few changes since their creation millions of years ago. They have become such widespread pests because they thrive on very little. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t simply attracted to messy households, although that will extend their stay. They simply require three things: water, food and warm shelter.

In addition, cockroaches typically prefer damp, warm places and usually reproduce quickly in garages, sewers, attics, storerooms and similar locations, and then enter the home from outside breeding sites. For every one you see there can be many, many more hiding and multiplying behind your walls.

Cockroaches can get into the cleanest of living spaces because in most situations, we unknowingly bring them home. They can be found behind refrigerators, sinks and stoves, as well as under floor drains and inside of motors and major appliances. If you can’t find any of them during the day, check cupboards and pantries for their droppings.

Cockroaches affect more people than any other insect. They vomit partly-digested food materials and continually defecate while eating and pose significant health hazards by transmitting diseases (bacillary dysentery, typhoid fever, cholera, polio, amoebic dysentery, urinary-tract infections, diarrhea, and infectious hepatitis). The debris created by cast-off cockroach skins, dead bodies and droppings can aggravate allergies, especially in children and sensitive individuals. Furthermore, contact with cockroach allergens can cause mild to severe rashes, other allergic reactions and in extreme cases death from asthma attacks.

Some ways to prevent an outbreak before you may need a pest control professional include eliminating water (do not let water stand in sinks and eliminate outside collection areas), eliminating food sources (dispose garbage properly and wipe off counter tops often), and eliminate harborages (discard unnecessary cardboard boxes and pull mulch away from your home).

Paul Opocensky is the Manager for Truly Nolen in SaddleBrooke. His service office can be reached at (520) 219-2494. Founded in 1938, Tucson-based Truly Nolen of America ( is one of the largest family-owned pest control companies in the United States.

Subscribe to stay connected to Tucson. A subscription helps you access more of the local stories that keep you connected to the community.